Staff Page
    Imprints 2004 logo

by Madeline Vermeer

People don’t look at me. They don’t look in my eyes cuz they’re afraid they might need to realize that I’m human. They don’t know what it’s like not to be able to show the world who they are. Looking through these eyes of mine... at the world... at you and your parents... it’s hard to believe what your real life consists of. But, I make a good story, a good laugh, and a good scratching post for the man with no ego. I’m used to people not looking me in the eye. And that’s what makes it all seem so unreal to me.
     I sit alone, devoid of most things cos my eyes are fixed on a hole in the wall where his fist was last night. He thinks I am a suitable punching bag sometimes. I guess he figures he “can’t do much more damage then God’s already done.” Sometimes my cheek offers too cushy a substance to hit so he adds to the polka dotted wall. The holes make me happy cuz that’s a memory of the good nights. Last night was a good night.
     We don’t have TV so I go outside to watch my soap operas. Neighbors will sometimes say hello and shoot the shit for a couple minutes cuz it’s neighborly and they have to, then they go do for the rest of their days. They don’t realize that talking- or rather listening- to them may be my only accomplishment for the day.
Drug dealers are people I can relate with. They can’t look a client in the eye. If they can its cuz their emotions are gone. Not for fear of being caught, but for the fear that they may realize that the people they push to are people and not lab rats or $500. So when I deal with push ers I feel most like a human. Cuz I know this guy doesn’t look anyone square in the eye-- not even himself. And what he gives me makes me feel like I’m part of something real. Even it just makes me a statistic.
     I’ve probably seen you before... doing whatever it is that you do. Maybe I’ve caught you picking your nose or your ass when you think no one’s watching. Someone is always watching whether it be me or whether it be yourself. You’ve seen me too. You glanced right over me like I was a mailbox stationed in place that wasn’t worth the trouble of examining more closely. You may feel sorry for me. One moment of remorse for my poor, decrepit soul and your Good Samaritan act is done for the day. I affect your life for ten minutes. Than, the thought is thrown away and you move on to better things then mental grief for a fucked up crazy woman.
     Today I think I’m going to stay home. It’s raining a little bit so I’m just gonna stay here and sit by the window and watch all the people do a rain dance for me.. scurry here and there... I think maybe rain is good for the soul. It makes reflections on life seem so much more poetic and meaningful. I know there’s a great mind trapped in here. Each drop that gets caught on the window flows into another - the drips are spelling out the answers to my prayers. Maybe
this is the only life I could have known. Maybe if I had been born blind life would be easier. I wouldn’t see the stares and disdainful, scornful heathenish looks I get. But then I couldn’t see what side the fist was coming from. It’s too much sometimes. Sometimes I believe I can do better and that’s as far as I get. I just don’t know any better. The rain keeps falling just as sure as I keep sitting. This past three months hasn’t changed much. I’m getting out of here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
     Today I’m... I’m ha! Creating a new life... if I can get off the floor... but the ceiling knows so much about me... and the coffee table is whispering... I think I’ll stay here awhile...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
     “ Dumb bitch!” I turn my head but my hair is caught under a heavy boot. I try to sit up but my head is half under the coffee table.
     “ Oh, hi,” is all I can sputter out. I look into the kitchen to see the flame I left on. As my senses become more awake I smell burnt oatmeal and hear the faint trickling of water overflowing in the teakettle I had been filling. I swear I’d been in the kitchen the whole time. I’m convinced someone knocked me out and moved me where I now found myself.
The reprimand begins. I cry. I fall back to sleep. My cheek wasn’t too soft for him tonight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
     “ Baby, you are the only thing in this world that makes me look forward to work being over.” That was the nicest thing he’d ever said to me. That was the first day we lived together. And the first day he beat the shit out of me. But all I had to do was make some food and take some beatings. They were no worse then going outside and having eyes follow you or hearing the snickers. After a while you grow numb to both.

--Madeline Vermeer

Drawing by Grisela Zuelch

by Grisela Zuelch